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Can Your Doctor Tutor Your Child?
By Tracy Sherwood,  Superphonics Founder 

How I wish there were a magic pill to help our children concentrate and progress along with normal children. The twists and turns of my road to understanding the problems of ADHD and education in general, have so many times taken me to better understanding, only to reveal that there is so much more to learn.

There are so many medical and mental studies, opposing studies, educated arguments and emotional controversy to sift through. Had I simply been a parent, teacher, physician or mental health professional, I don't believe I would have the inside knowledge I have today. If one were to look at 'whom' the experts are, and at who has a say as to whether to medicate or not medicate, one could categorize this list in order of legitimate expertise beginning with the least expert. Ironically, I would consider the psychiatrist, psychologist and medical practitioner to be the least expert. And if you are a parent or teacher, you may find you soon agree with me. Read on...


Medical and mental practitioners

least expert?

The psychiatrist, psychologist and medical doctor acquire knowledge from study and lectures, not from working with or teaching children. The actual time spent with a particular child is minimal, averaging 10 minutes with the child if that. The time spent trying to teach a child is zero. But we never think of this fact do we?

Testing or examination done on a particular child is standardized and limited in information it will have to offer, even though each may appear to be extensive and result in a diagnosis. There is no teaching being done. Attention span, and knowledge may tested along with ability to learn and concentration in relation to learning. Medicos do the usual check up and ask a few questions before writing up the prescription. It's all too quick and easy. Misdiagnosis is rampant and goes largely unchecked.

But what these tests do not show, or prove, is why the difficulties. Are there audio (sound) or visual processing problems of a mental nature? If so, why? If it's not physically his eyes and it's not his ears, then why? That's where the science comes in right? Maybe. For now, what I want you to see, is that the person giving this child the test, is not teaching the child, has no experience in teaching the child, has not persisted in trying to teach the child, does not know what it will take to get through to the child, nor how many little breakthroughs it will take before the child's symptoms vanish. And shockingly, this person is not even trained to teach this child even if he were to sit down to try. He (or she) could not and would not get results because he is not trained to get results through teaching. He is trained to look for symptoms and write prescriptions based on authoritative research and science that does not come from a single person expert in teaching a child!

Psychiatry can step in with big words and degrees, and convince us that the problem is something in the brain that you can't see and the drugs are the only solution. But can he teach phonics? Not a chance!

Has it ever crossed your mind that a medical practitioner is not a teacher?

Have you ever asked yourself how he could know what your child needs to make better academic progress if he is not by training an 'educator'?

A few have given lectures from acquired materials, but if a child lags behind or becomes confused, do they know how to catch him up or unconfuse him? Do you think they do much of this? Even teachers don't have the resources and time to do this with students. But a teacher has more expertise in doing this than a medical or mental practitioner! So, never being a teacher, how is it that a doctor or psychologist or psychiatrist is an expert in why your child isn't learning well? Is this logical to you? They are simply self-proclaimed experts in a field they know nothing of! Can the art critic paint? Very few critics paint. But he can sound convincingly authoritative. Luckily, he can't prescribe drugs to artists.

I would love to appear on Oprah with a learning disabled child between myself and a child psych or physician. I would love to let the psych or doc have 30 minutes to make progress with this child's ability to spell, read words, comprehend or to focus a little better. And when done, I would let him write his prescription, and have Oprah hold it in her hand while I play with the child for 25 minutes with some learning techniques. At end, the audience would decide whether the prescription should be filled or torn up and the child given over to me for tutoring. I would accept this challenge in a heartbeat. I promise you, for almost any child with a supposed learning disability, the disability has been in the teaching.

Does this mean that there are no practitioners that know how to teach a struggling child? Actually, I know quite a few. But these practitioners, whether mental or medical, consider labeling an act of ignorance and degradation. And not one would prescribe medication! Email me for a list of some of these practitioners 'who are also trained to teach'.


Second least expert on teaching your child

The parent may seem to be less expert in knowing their child's difficulties that the teacher, because the teacher spends more time with the child in an educational setting than does the parent and is of course, trained to teach. But the parent is not less expert. Not the responsible parent anyway.

The teacher, teaching an entire classroom, and seeing only the child's work and attitude in the group academic and social setting, misses much. The teacher is not able to observe much of the student's actual learning. He only sees he is or isn't attentive and grades the work that is turned in – or notes it was not turned in or is incomplete. The teacher doesn't even have the time to ask the questions: What was the child thinking when he did this work? How early in this book did he give up? What part of it lost him?   What exactly isn't he understanding and what's the barrier? How is it he can leave out so much of a spelling word… or add letters you don't even hear? I see he's fidgeting, talking, restless, getting into trouble and doing everything but learning. But there's no time to help this child one-on-one or to even find out what he's not getting and why. This leaves the teacher only one duty, and that is to report the quantity and quality of his work and what is observed in a group setting. And illegally, but often true, the teacher recommends medication based on a list of symptoms that come from the even less expert: the mental health guy who are not educators and do not know your child.


Next is the parent, or at least the more responsible parent. This parent may not know how to teach and may have forgotten most of these basics, but what he is able to help with, provides the parent with some feedback from his child.

Face-to-face, voice-to-voice, the parent is seeing the child's life and interaction to what he hears, sees, learns, and what confuses him. The parent is right in the middle of the thought process and activity and has close up observation of the child in learning and social situations.

The parent's attention is on his child, not a group of children. The moments of confusion and frustration are right there in front of him. The parent equally observes the moments of clarity, interest and confidence. There are times the child understands things so clearly and when this happens, there is a calmness or excitement that accompanies it. We think, "If he could only be like this more than not".

Where does this clarity of thought go? His attention flits like a hummingbird, yet even a hummingbird has direction. The parent sees what the teacher doesn't see - the moments of his true potential. But the parent doesn't understand why it comes and goes and what to do about it.

When the parent becomes impatient with the bad moments or strikes out, guilt builds up, often hidden, but close by. This guilt drives a wedge between parent and child until the parent is no longer able to observe or acknowledge the good moments.   To escape the guilt, the parent gives in and allows others to evaluate the situation for him and accepts answers he is not sure of. The loving parent cops out and often defends his position at the risk of being wrong. All this, when he truly wants to do what's right and help their child. But it all becomes so confusing and emotionally draining.


If the parent knew what I know - and much of it he does, but doesn't realize it - then he would be the best medicine for his child. He would realize that the medical and mental doctors don't know his child at all. The teacher wants to, but can never know this child like the parent. They have never intimately related to this child and seen him at his emotionally, intellectually and creatively best and worse. A parent experiences this with his child from birth and thousands of times through his life. The teacher may or may not observe a few such moments.  


The true expert

From one session, I will know more about one child in regard to his learning process, barriers and potential than your medical or mental practitioner, his teacher and parents combined.

Why? Because my hours are not spent on studying medical and mental texts, prescribing medications and examining a child's heartbeat and blood.

Also, my hours are not spent teaching a paced curriculum to a large group of children, getting them in their seats, watching many yawn in confusion and grading the endless piles of work. I don't have to suffer through seeing the child left behind from the school years prior and knowing I can't possibly abandon the others to catch him up.

I'm not the parent that has to discipline, protect, and bar the child from dangers. I don't have to deal with his will when it comes to what programs he can see, when he has to go to bed, how he takes care of his body and possessions, who his friends are, what he eats, what he wears, how much he helps, how he treats others, when he tells the truth, and what secrets he hides.

It is very difficult for most parents to get their child to learn from them when there are so many other upsets in life that have built up.

And when the child doesn't understand, and the parent doesn't know how to get them to understand, or can't get their attention to try to help them understand, frustration sets in.

Frustration only happens when you don't know what to do. You may know the subject, but you may not know how to get them to understand it.

You may know what to say to get them to understand it, but you may not know what to do to get them to listen to you.

You may know how to punish, blackmail, bribe or even force them, but you may not know how to get them to do it without an attitude, or with some pride about it, and what about tomorrow?

There are many different situations parents run into when helping their child learn, but when frustration sets in, it always means one thing; there's some problem and the parent doesn't know what to do about it.  

And the child's frustration comes from the same thing: there's a problem and he doesn't know what to do about it either.

Now the child may think his problem is that he doesn't want the parent in his face, or force him to do work, or that he wants to do something else.

But children are naturally curious. They are natural learners. This natural urge to learn is only interrupted when the learning stops coming easily to him. There has been some confusion that was not cleared up or someone upset him in the process of learning. There are many ways this can happen, but the result is, he becomes less able or willing to learn.

When it comes to parents helping their child, there is this big barrier: parents and children know each other's buttons and can really tromp on them.


I am the tutor who has spent my hours of expertise, tutoring. I have come to see what's going on in the mind of the child while trying to learn. Below the symptoms of, say ADHD, there are factors that the mental health guys don't know or don't want you to know about.

I know them all, very well. I know them because I have made progress with these children and the more years that I tutor such children, the faster and smoother the progress becomes. I know what to try nutritionally, emotionally and academically with each individual child.

I am there to see if each tried thing works or does not work and what to try next until we finally do make a breakthrough. I'm not taking reports from studies that others have done. I'm not doing a few sporadic studies and with those, coming to conclusions. I do not take scientific data and fit it in to the solution of my struggling student. I only go by what I see in front of me and what I've seen over thirty years of tutoring.

Unless there is some physiological deficiency or injury to the nervous system that can be unquestionably proven, such as brain damage, severe illness or mental birth defects, it always comes down to three potential things: 1. The emotional effects on the child from the environment  2. Nutritional deficiencies or allergies  3. Missing basics, confusions, or forced education (which would fall under #1 above).   

From process of elimination, the answer or answers always appear and the symptoms of ADHD disappear quickly or lesson gradually before disappearing. But at end, they always disappear. I can prove this to anyone wanting to see this for him or herself.


The expert is the tutor, who has tutored thousands of hours one-to-one, and has successfully and consistently taught children who were said to be learning disabled. It is the expert tutor, and only the expert tutor, who has intimate understanding of a child's abilities and disabilities in regard to learning and his attitude toward learning.


The teacher knows this and often recommends the parents find a good tutor. The medical practitioner rarely recommends tutoring because if the child makes good progress and no longer needs the practitioner, he reduces his own bread and butter. I'm sorry, but this is true! This is also why the medicos do not say, 'Pick up some vitamin-C from the grocery store, 1000 mg, and take 5 of them right away and then one every waken hour until the infection is gone". Heck, next time you wouldn't even to into the doctor! You would just pull out the trusty Vitamin C.

The medicos make his living by multiple and future visits and to do that, he must treat symptoms, not give you the secrets to never needing him!

The drug companies are the ones that promote the drugs to the medical practitioners. Make no mistake; the doctors do not have time to keep up on all the drugs coming to them from the drug companies. If they have the time to read the literature at all, surely they don't have time to investigate the hazards or effectiveness of each. They have a book, listing the drugs and they keep up somewhat on what symptoms various drugs are prescribed for and what drugs should not be taken with other drugs and such. But very often, they don't even give the parent the list of warnings with the prescription, which are not hard to read anyway, amidst the medical terminology, small print and heavy reading. It's much like someone explaining the three-page contract you are about to sign, in three or four sentences. And then you sign it. We trust them.


If it makes sense to you, that it may possibly be true, that most professional tutors, or at least this tutor and author, more likely know more about helping your child than the medical or mental fields, teachers and yourself included, then read this book and see if more of your questions don't have answers. Answers that I wouldn't expect you to believe just because I say I am the expert.

I'm talking about answers that you will know are right or wrong with little or no question and a few simple trials and experiments at home.

Also, answers that you already knew but didn't know how to implement.

Some of these answers require more work than some parents have the self-discipline for. If you need a tutor, email me for a good reference in your area.

Some of the answers are so simple that your situation with your child will change for the better right here and now.

Some are so powerful that they will change your life in many different ways, not simply for your child.


Tracy accepts a limited number of private students throughout Southern California. To schedule a private evaluation call:

1-888-KFI-TUTOR  (1-888-534-8886


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